"Windstruck's connection to My Sassy Girl may be both its greatest strength and greatest weakness..."
Director: Kwak Jae-yong
Writer: Kwak Jae-yong
Cast: Jeon Ji-hyun, Jang Hyuk
Running Time: 123 min.
Plot: See review below.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
OWLMAN'S REVIEW: Kyung-Jin (Jeong Ji-Hyun) is a young police officer. She meets Myung-Woo (Jang Hy-Yuk), a schoolteacher, in the most unusual circumstances. They fall in love. Tragedy ensues. Lots of tears and, as a testament to the title of the film, lots and lots of wind. More tears. A couple of suicide attempts by Kyung-Jin. An action scene with a bad guy. A scene of closure to the film that is so cheesy, I thought Whoopi Goldberg and the use of the word "ditto" were going to appear. A final scene that apparently hints towards Windstruck being a prequel to My Sassy Girl - although I wouldn't know because I've never seen MSG.
All of this add up to a bad viewing experience. It's too bad that movies can't be put on vinyl because if Windstruck was available in such a format, I would take it right now and smash it over my head.
OWLMAN'S RATING: 1/10 (only for that scene with Kyung-Jin and the two street kids)
IUXION'S REVIEW: To date, I've watched Windstruck three times, which is a lot, considering that I didn't like it very much the first time around. Marking the reunion of director Kwak Jae Yong and actress Jeon Ji Hyun, who first worked together in My Sassy Girl, Windstruck is without a doubt, something of a disappointment. While that film managed to go on to become Korea's best selling DVD (and is currently being remade by Dreamworks, unfortunately, for the US), I doubt any of that will happen for Windstruck, much to the chagrin of Edko Films, the Chinese distributor that partially funded this Korean film in the hopes that the lightning would strike twice. So what went wrong?
The film opens with a shot of Gyeong Jin (Jeon Ji Hyun), moments away from plummeting off the top of one of many skyscrapers in Seoul. We aren't told what or why, and from here the story flashes back in time to the meeting of Gyeong Jin and Myung Woo (Volcano High's Jang Hyuk), follows their subsequent romance, and then leads up to the events that started the film off atop the city skyline. Jeon Ji Hyun plays pretty much the same character that she did in My Sassy Girl, and while the first half of the film effectively mimics the structure and style of its popular cousin, the second half strays into heavy-handed melodrama, giving the movie a more soap opera quality. No scenes drag, per se, but many don't really fit in with the overall feel of the movie and probably should've been left on the cutting board. The film's soundtrack, which is an odd fusion of Korean pop music, classic rock and roll, and orchestra numbers (while not bad on it's own) is poorly used in some instances, with songs sometimes repeating themselves literally seconds after they were previously played.
This, and more, kind of makes me believe that Mr. Kwak just didn't know what to do anymore, half-way in: the film in its final form is basically representative of every major cinematic genre (it's got comedy, romance, action, horror, etc.), but it doesn't really do anything particularly well and just isn't that memorable on its own.
Being a huge fan of My Sassy Girl compelled me to pick up this film and give it another chance after being disappointed the first time. I can't say that it was really a bad decision; while Windstruck is flawed, it definitely has its charm, especially for those who loved that other movie, which I'd recommend seeing first (for the few of you who haven't checked it out yet), in order to fully enjoy this one. In fact, Windstruck's connection to My Sassy Girl may be both its greatest strength and greatest weakness: while disappointing in comparison, some of the personality that made My Sassy Girl so original and memorable can be found here as well.
IUXION'S RATING: 7/10